Child Themes Helper

Child Themes Helper | Paul A. Swarthout | child,child theme,child themes,theme


  1. The Child Themes Helper is a tool….
    …developed for those child theme developers who write or modify PHP code in the development of their child themes. Previous versions of the Child Themes Helper required the child theme being modified be the activated theme. That is no longer the case. However, you will still need to set a child theme to be an “Active Theme” on the Options tab, but it does not have to be the activated theme.

  2. Copy files from Parent Theme to Child Theme
    The primary purpose of the Child Themes Helper plugin is to copy files from a parent theme (also called the template theme) to a child theme. The folder path in the parent theme is duplicated in the child theme during the copy.

  3. Edit Child Theme Files
    Starting with the Child Themes Helper version 2.1, you can now edit your child theme files and save the changes. You can also “edit” your parent theme files, but they are marked read-only and you will not be able to save any changes that you make.
    This is not meant to be the primary method of editing your files, but rather a way to make a quick change or to peer inside of a file without having to go elsewhere to make a quick change.

  4. Remove files from the Child Theme
    The Child Themes Helper plugin will also remove any files that you no longer want in the child theme. Any folders that are made empty by the removal of a file or folder, will also be removed.

  5. Prompt before removal
    The Child Themes Helper plugin will detect when a child theme file is different from its parent theme counterpart. If the files are not identical, the user will be prompted before allowing a parent theme file to be copied over an existing child theme file, or before allowing a child theme file to be removed.

  6. Create a child theme
    The primary functionality of the Child Themes Helper plugin requires the existence of a child theme. If a child theme has not already been created, this plugin will help you to create a child theme of any of the currently installed themes (not other child themes) on the website.

  7. Generate a temporary graphic for the Themes page
    Creating a child theme does not create a graphic for your new theme on the WordPress themes page. The Child Themes Helper plugin can create a graphic for your child theme. You’re free to select the foreground and background colors for that graphic and choose from up to a couple of dozen Google Fonts. If you would like a different font, you only need to copy the .ttf file into the Child Themes Helper plugin’s assets/fonts folder. The next time you open the Options page, the newly downloaded font will be displayed with a sample string.

  8. Notes

    • Troubleshooting Installation Issues
      If you are upgrading the Child Themes Helper from a version prior to version 2.0, you might have problems installing the upgrade.
      The most frequent problem is that the upgrade fails and displays a nasty message at the top of the plugins page. WordPress then politely deactivates the Child Themes Helper plugin.
      If you experience this problem, the solution is to: deactivate the plugin if it isn’t already deactivated. Delete the plugin. And then reinstall the Child Themes Helper directly from the WordPress plugins repository.

      New with Child Themes Helper v2.0, the primary folder name (“~/plugins/pasChildThemes) and the primary file name (pasChildThemes.php) were changed to (~/plugins/child-themes-helper) and (child-themes-helper.php) to make the plugin match the WordPress assigned slug.
      Under certain circumstances, probably due to either browser caching or website caching, this causes the upgrade to fail.

    • PHP Developer Tool
      The Child Themes Helper is meant as a PHP developer’s tool to help the WordPress PHP developer make direct changes to a child theme’s PHP code. It is NOT a GUI, drag -n- drop tool to help non-developers build a child theme.

    • Child Themes Helper on GitHub
      The GitHub repository for this plugin can be found here. Stable versions are usually found on the WordPress SVN repository. Intermediate versions are often found on GitHub.

    • Child Themes Helper access
      The Child Themes Helper is accessed from the WordPress dashboard under the heading “Child Themes Helper”. The menu item may be found immediately below the Appearance Dashboard menu item.

    • Platform Support
      The Child Themes Helper was developed on Microsoft IIS 10 and tested on both Windows’ and Linux -based web servers.

    • If you like the Child Themes Helper plugin, please consider writing a review here. Thank you.

    • Development versions
      Versions 2.1, 1.2 are available for download and install.

    • Screenshot
      The temporary graphic is referred to as the ScreenShot because the filename is “screenshot.png” and is located in the root folder of your theme. The filename and the location are defined by the WordPress core and cannot be changed by this (or any) plugin.

      Your browser will cache the screenshot file whenever possible. If you modify the ScreenShot graphic and you do not see any changes when you generate a new one, then you will need to clear your browser’s image and file cache.

      If you generate a screenshot graphic and you only see the background (i.e., no words), just generate the screenshot again. This happens when the selected font does not exist in the assets/fonts folder of the Child Themes Helper plugin. If you are updating from version 1.0, you will see this happen the first time that you generate a screenshot since the original fonts were deleted and replaced by Google Fonts.

      Most developers will replace this generated screenshot file with a graphic of their own. This feature is meant to provide a temporary graphic that quickly and easily identifies the child theme name and its parent theme.

      In a future release, there will be a lock feature on the options page to prevent accidental overwrites of the screenshot file. Also, in a future release, there will be the ability to select an existing graphic and crop it as necessary, instead of generating one.

    • Known Bug
      Although the Child Themes Helper plugin is mostly responsive, the Edit File functionality doesn’t work very well on small screens. But does anybody actually modify themes on smartphones and tablets? (Please say ‘No’).


  • This plugin may be installed through the usual method of installing and activating WordPress plugins. The first time you open the Child Themes Helper plugin page on your dashboard, it will look a bit different from the previous version. Instead of a stack of menu options on the dashboard menu, there is a single menu option “Child Themes Helper” and it opens to a page featuring tabs across the top — one for each area of functionality. Previous versions worked on the currently active Child Theme, but effective with this release, you are free to modify any child theme that has been created. You will still need to specify the “active” theme, but it does not have to be the “activated” theme. The first time you use it, you will only be able to set an active theme on the Options tab, or create a new child theme.

  • If you experience problems installing or activating version 2.1 or later, after having an earlier version installed, please deactivate it, delete it, and then reinstall it. The primary folder name and the primary plugin filename changed with this release. It may conflict with an earlier version and crash upon install.

  • The Child Themes Helper plugin requires an active theme be specified (Options tab). Unlike previous versions, this “active theme” does NOT have to be the currently “Activated” theme.

  • If you downloaded the Child Themes Helper plugin, directly, from the WordPress Plugin Page, then follow these instructions to install.

    1. If you have already tried this plugin and you are trying a different version through this installation method, I highly recommend that you deactivate the plugin and delete it before following the next steps. There are multiple files that existed in earlier versions that do not exist or are no longer used in later versions. If you don’t want to delete it, first, then at least deactivate it.
    2. Using your favorite FTP client, find the wp-content/plugins folder and create the child-themes-helper sub folder.
    3. Unzip the downloaded file and copy the contents to the wp-content/plugins/child-themes-helper folder on your web server. Overwrite anything that previously existed.
    4. Activate the Child Themes Helper plugin.
    5. You’re ready to go. You should see the menu option “Child Themes Helper” on your dashboard menu just below the Appearance menu item.

Plugin author

Paul A. Swarthout

Plugin official website address
If you encounter problems in using the Child Themes Helper plugin, you can comment below, and I will try my best to help you solve the problem

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.